There’s a bit of a recurring theme to a lot of transport commentary in recent times – that Auckland Transport needs to “up its game”. I touched on it recently in regards to communications, but it’s also covered well in this Newsroom article about the standoff between Auckland Transport and Councillors in relation to the most recent Statement of Intent. This is a telling extract from the Newsroom article:

Councillor Chris Darby expressed “significant concerns about the AT Statement of Intent” which were supposed to outline objectives and intentions for the next three years. “AT is about one year and even on that front it does not reflect the higher ranking documents.”

He listed numerous failures by Auckland Transport to adopt the council’s wishes, saying its statement did not reflect the Auckland Plan 2050, the regional land transport plan, approach to climate change, policy on disposal of assets via another council organisation, Panuku Auckland, road safety or other council requests.

Councillor Richard Hills said Auckland Transport’s document was not in the “transformational place where everything else has been” and declared himself “a little bit ‘whelmed by some of the details in here”.

The request to reallocate space on road space ought to be implemented.

The deputy mayor Bill Cashmore joined in, saying transport was a large part of the council budget and work. “We’ve replaced virtually half the board. It is a new chief executive and executive. It is time to assert our wishes on to that board in a way that is agreeable.”

It’s pleasing to see councillors finally raising these issues rather than rubber stamping the SOI’s like they have done in the past.

The Council’s dissatisfaction with Auckland Transport came through again yesterday in a Planning Committee item on Auckland’s road safety crisis. You can watch the whole item below:

For those who can’t dedicate an hour and a half of their lives, Radio NZ picked up some of the key points in this article – which again highlights the frustration of the Council with Auckland Transport’s performance:

Mr Levy appeared before combative Auckland councillors at a Planning Committee meeting today and came under fire with questions about what was being done to reduce the grim statistics.

Mayor Phil Goff said the figures were “appalling” and called for a better explanation than what was provided by AT.

“Why has Auckland done so badly? Because if we don’t understand the why, we don’t know what needs to be done to resolve it,” Mr Goff said.

Councillor Linda Cooper said she was disappointed nothing appeared to have changed since the implementation of the regional fuel tax, which helps to fund road safety.

“My understanding was there were going to be huge safety improvements – huge. I did vote for it with the understanding there would be something for my community, rural and poor. I see four investigations into footpaths here.”…

…Councillor Daniel Newman said he was “underwhelmed” with AT’s report, while Josephine Bartley questioned whether the agency was just doing what it wants rather than what Aucklanders want.

“I have people in my area that have had to go to the media, that have had to start petitions to get Auckland Transport to do something. And you don’t listen and you don’t act.”

This all begs the question of “what on earth is going wrong with Auckland Transport?” I think there are a few explanations.

Firstly, most of the issues raised by Councillors and us are not new, but rather we have run out of patience with Auckland Transport. The road safety crisis started in about 2012 when the long-running reduction in deaths and serious injuries was reversed and these numbers started to creep upwards. Yet it wasn’t until late 2017 that a proper review of road safety was even commissioned, and even then it seems as though the Board had to sidestep management to get the review done in the first place. In other areas, like making our streets more pedestrian friendly and giving buses more priority, the arguments have gone on for years and progress has been glacially slow. Not a single metre of bus lane was added in Auckland Transport’s first two years, for example.

Secondly, and I think this is linked to the first issue, there is now good political alignment on transport between the Council and Central Government. When Auckland Transport’s two funders were constantly arguing with each other, it was probably fairly easy for AT to pick whatever side it most preferred to align with on a particular issue – or to get into the habit of doing absolutely nothing to ensure it didn’t annoy either of its funding partners. But times have changed enormously now, there’s strong alignment and there’s funding from ATAP and the Regional Fuel Tax. Therefore everyone is rightly impatient to actually see progress made.

Auckland Transport will need to work hard to “up its game” and regain the trust and support that has slipped away in recent months, not helped by stuff-ups like the RLTP debacle. This will require more than just the usual “talk and no action” that has plagued AT in recent years (remember the Statement of Imagination). It will require bold moves that actually happen at pace and deliver real outcomes and it will require vastly better public communication and explanation for why AT is doing what it’s doing.

So come on Auckland Transport, it’s time to up your game. Otherwise it’s going to get ugly.

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63 comments

    1. Lowering speeds on 10% of our roads now, and the others later when AT wakes up to what Vision Zero really means will cost us much more money in rates in the long run. The correct approach is to change the default speed limit, so that far fewer speed limit signs need to be changed, as so that the mindset shift happens quickly.

  1. “it seems as though the Board had to sidestep management to get the review done in the first place”. I’d love to know more about that. The CEO had barely started then; I imagine he was behind the commissioning of the review or at least didn’t prevent it. Surely those that needed to be side-stepped to commission such an important review are those that need to be fired or demoted, to enable the changes recommended by the review.

  2. It really is worth watching the meeting. You get a good idea of the focus of each of the Councillors. I’m afraid some who have been criticised here before really lived down to their reputation, with concern for travel times for drivers, whether slowing traffic through town centres is warranted just because pedestrians might not follow the law about where to cross, and the need to balance better traffic flow rather than slowing traffic. No understanding of how the concern for these things has led to the safety problem in the first place, without solving those issues. Parallel, ugly universes. Others were incredibly good.

    1. Can we please have a succinct summary of each councillor’s contributions to the debate.
      Given this is a sentinel issue, knowing these responses will be vastly more informative, come election time, then their bland pamphlets and press releases.

      1. I jotted down a couple of times to look at yesterday, but they won’t help you because they were from the 6 hour + full meeting. If I get a chance to do it comprehensively sometime, using times so you can draw your own conclusion, I will, but realistically I won’t have time for a while.

  3. I really dislike blatant lies from public organisations. It is manipulative propaganda and poor use of statistics. Because that is what it is. Propaganda. Textbook definition.

    Using 2014 as a reference year is dishonest because it is not giving a full picture.

    Why not use 2013? Auckland deaths up 33%, NZ deaths up 49%. Not so good for marketing right?
    Why not use 2015? Auckland deaths up 23%, NZ deaths up 18.5%
    Why not use 2016? Auckland deaths up 39%, NZ deaths up 18.5%.

    Auckland’s absolute crashes are down by a huge amount over 40 years, down 40% over 20 years and up 16% over 10 years.

    But without any reference to population growth, that number is meaningless.
    Auckland’s proportion of deaths to NZ deaths has been trending down for 20, 10 and 5 years and in the last year as well. Currently Auckland has 1/3rd of the population but 16% of the road deaths.

    Road death data from NZTA and population stats from Stats NZ clearly show that road deaths per 100k head of population in Auckland is trending down over the last 10 years. And that Auckland is by far the least worst region, right next to Wellington. Auckland has half the rate of NZ as a whole by that metric. Auckland’s rate is actually similar to Sweden/Denmark as a whole by that metric.

    I am totally for safer roads, lower speeds, and way more investment into walking/cycling infra. Totally support doing all we can to get kiwis off their car dependency. Any death is one death too much and we must do better.

    Which is why I just really dislike propaganda being used as a weapon to try and shock, bash and deceive the public into to go along with some line of policy. I hear that 77% stat and just cringe.

    1. ‘Auckland has half the rate of NZ as a whole by that metric. Auckland’s rate is actually similar to Sweden/Denmark as a whole by that metric.’

      Speaking of propaganda. It would make more sense for you to compare Auckland’s rate with that for Stockholm or Copenhagen. It is entirely logical that Auckland’s rate is lower than the country overall, as I imagine it is for Hamilton, Tauranga, Christchurch and Dunedin.

      That doesn’t somehow make a dramatic spike in DSI okay.

    2. If you dislike selective data so much then why do you use it above?

      The reason for focussing on the most recent years is because the long term trend PER CAPITA you refer to suddenly reversed. Instead of the long term trend continuing or even stabilising, it has reversed, and it isn’t just a blip, because it has been going on long enough now, consistently getting worse year on year, to make a new trend.

      Additionally we are here now, we can only act for the future, improvements 10 or 20 years ago, like seat belts, are built in. We can’t just point to the terrible numbers in the 70s and shrug, cos it’s not as bad. That’s absurd.

      Anyway; you seem to be saying it’s fine, the accelerated rate of death and serious injury on our roads; is it? How many should die each year, for your ideas about ‘propaganda’? What’s your number; your satisfactory death rate?

    3. If you’d like to go and split NZ’s and Sweden’s statistics into city and country driving, perhaps for different densities of urban form and per head of population, do so. I’d be very interested. Stockholm’s rates are pretty damned good, a fraction of Auckland’s.

      There is robust substance to using 2012 as a starting point. Auckland Transport began in 2010, and it had a different approach to road safety – Penny Hulse discusses that a little in yesterday’s meeting. Changes in the built environment and the way the network was managed would have started having an effect around 2012. The changes in DSI since then reflect the change Auckland Transport made. The difference between the increase in DSI for Auckland compared to the rest of NZ during this time is another measure of the influence that Auckland Transport’s approach had.

      The only issue I have with using these statistics is that the starting point was already too bad, and that’s a problem the world over. If these were murders, there’d be an outcry. But I’m not going to labour the point, because the shift to Vision Zero should get our system a whole lot safer than it was in 2012.

      Ari, there are plenty of misuses of statistics out there to get your teeth into. Look at the wider implications of where you choose to place your criticism.

    4. All three of you just prove my point exactly. You can get numbers to say whatever you want.

      Jezza, I wasn’t telling anyone what data to use, just giving alternative examples of data.

      Patrick, Auckland’s per capita trend hasn’t reversed yet. 10 year trend is still downward. At least not according to government reported data.

      Using propaganda to try and justify safety actions is wrong.

      1. bah, stupid thing posted for some reason and lost half my post.

        Anyway, Patrick, clearly you didn’t bother to read what I said. I state clearly that one death is too much. Totally agree we should be doing more to address this.

  4. “Statement of Intent”? Yeah, Right.

    More like Statement of Inaction to me.

    So much for AT being a CCO, clearly AT is not acting like its the Council Controlled Organisation it is in law.

    Maybe Goff needs to have a talk to the Government about fixing the legislation AT operates under, than banging on about understanding the Why? on DSI.

    We’ve had both problems (DSI and AT) around for best part of 8+ years now. And we’re still fiddling at the margins and wringing our hands over this resource hungry monster child called AT that seemingly dictates all our lives and wondering why nothing is getting any better despite 8+ years of SOIs.

    AT clearly shows in its behaviour and these SOIs that it thinks its main purpose is mainly self preservation.

    Preserving the lives of Auckland residents from DSI or other things? Nah, not our problem.

    Maybe, AT is a large part of the problem here?

    1. Council Controlled Organisation (CCO) is an oxymoron. They were all setup to run at arms length from council. This was to avoid “interference” from elected officials such as councilors. AT was the only CCO to have two councilors sitting on its board. One of Phil Goff’s first acts was to remove those councilors. From previous reports, most CCOs do not keep elected officials in the loop, often dropping large reams of documents for approval at the last minute. Councilors complained that it was a rubber stamp process with no time to read what they were approving. I thought at the time, why approve it then? Apparently advice to them was that they didn’t need to be involved, just follow the CCO recommendations. Who knew for example that most Marinas had been sold off along with quantities of park and reserve land? From the response to the reports, not most councilors.

      1. They were set up to be privatised – to be sold off to the rich friends of the NACT government which brought in the “Supercity” structure. If Banks had been elected as the first Supercity mayor, we would not be having this discussion because AT would no longer exist.

        1. That’s a long bow, although I suspect that both Hide and Banks would have supported it. There is no way we would have ever got a majority of councillors to agree to sell of an organisation that owns a significant chunk of Auckland’s public land, even centre-right councillors would have baulked at that.

          1. Fortunately – we elected a majority of Councillors who were opposed to that sort of privatisation. But- as shown in Auckland City in 2001 – we are only 1 political stunt away from a Tory majority.

          2. There is every chance we could have a Tory council again, they might look at asset sales like the Port for example. However, it is only the small minority at the ACT end of the spectrum that would ever be willing to sell off a council body that owns the roads and footpaths outside everyone’s houses.

  5. While I am probably more guilty than most in regards to beating up on AT, I think this is a bit harsh. Road safety wasn’t really a big priority in our minds 2 years ago, we were all talking about improving PT, dedicated cycle paths, etc. We didn’t want AT to spend money on roads. Now its all of a sudden the number one priority and we expect AT to act instantly – which most normal organisations would be able to do, but its just not AT’s way. And the government are probably more guilty; my understanding is that just to lower a speed limit on a single road requires much more than AT putting up new signs which is just ridiculous IMO. I can understand why they would just give up when everyone is trying to stop them from doing anything.

    I’d still like AT to be managed more like a private company than a public one. The board should take high level advice from their shareholders (the council) and apply corresponding KPIs to their CEO’s salary/bonus. If any level of management refuse to act on the CEO’s demands, they should be gone. It really doesn’t look like this setup is in place – or if it is, I hope the CEO hasn’t been getting his bonus…

    1. The push for dedicated cycle paths was all about safety, and to a large extent the push for PT was about giving choice for people not wanting to engage with the destructive and yes, unsafe, network built around driving.

      I would back up from criticism if there wasn’t a double standard going on. Levy quoted the Vision Zero success of London and New York – where speed limits were dropped across the vast bulk of the networks. Yet AT intends to drop the speed limits on just 10% of our roads. Ellison says they are desperate to make changes quickly before more people die. Yet he has chosen not to make the one biggest difference he could make, despite the available evidence that exists. That’s trying to get the PR gains without doing the legwork.

      1. “Yet he has chosen not to make the one biggest difference he could make” – Can he make it? My understanding is that the NZTA effectively sets the speed limits…

        1. AT are already having to work closely with Wellington to get changes in legislation. What they’re doing wrong is aiming too low, because they are stuck in a mindset that the built environment needs to be changed before they can change the speed limits. I’m writing a post on this as they are utterly wrong about it, and there’s plenty of evidence internationally to show that the built environment changes can follow.

        2. NZTA only sets speed limits on state highways. Local road speed limits are set by the asset owner (usually the local council, I assume in Auckland the responsibility goes to AT) implementing a bylaw saying ‘the speed limit on this section of road is XXkm/h’ (if there’s no bylaw then the default 100km/h open road speed limit applies). Most council’s bylaws are basically a big spreadsheet listing every road they control and a speed limit for each. AT would need to amend their existing bylaw to change speed limits, I believe they’re legally required to carry out consultation before doing this.

          1. In New York, to change the speed limits, they had to change a law that said no speed limit could be set lower than 30 mph. Changing laws is not a barrier.

            Ellison talks about how under the current bylaw they’d have to change the speed limits street by street by street, with consultation on each one. If this is true, did they ignore the bylaw to change, for example, Wynyard Quarter?

          2. “Ellison talks about how under the current bylaw they’d have to change the speed limits street by street by street, with consultation on each one” – this to me seems crazy. Can’t the government pass a law stating that the local council or transport authority can decrease a speed limit at any time without any consultation or any bylaw change? I still think it is a central government problem.

          3. A year or two ago Christchurch changed a whole lot of its street speed limits at once and used a single consultation process to achieve this. Sounds like Ellison is coming up with excuses not to do it.

          4. In the past central government (NZTA, Transit NZ, National Roads Board call it what you want) effectively set the speed limits by setting an inflexible warrant that local councils had no choice but to use. Basically all that mattered was the level of roadside development. They included other things too but they were not allowed to conflict with the roadside development results so while you had to assess other things none of them mattered.

          5. I continue to understand how Wellington can have the CBD at 30KPH and Auckland seems to find it difficult. Do we live in the same country?

          6. Dale:
            Most of Wellington’s CBD is 50km/h.

            It was to be lowered to 30 km/h but failed by 1 vote (thanks to anti-cyclist & seemingly anti-pedestrian Cr Eagle – now Labour MP for Rongotai).

  6. I reckon maybe it’s time to turn AT into a PT operations body and remove all of their other responsibilities back to Auckland Council. It would cut out a whole layer or ten of bureaucracy and we might actually get something done that fitted with the Council’s plans.

    1. I think AT needs to be tweaked, but I wouldn’t want to go back to having this done inside council. We would likely end up with a lot more resistance to change if councillors were more closely linked to the those making decisions. It is much easier to support an overall vision of reduced speed limits and bus lane improvements than a specific reduction or bus lane in your ward that is getting people wound up.

      1. Yes, but the ‘tweak’ needs to be that safety is decided by safety experts as it is in other fields. The decisions around safety need to be removed from the political process completely.

        1. Agree. The benefit of an arms length organisation should be the ability for experts to get on and make the decisions we pay them to, not for managers to be placing there own stamp over how transport in Auckland is run.

          There will always need to be some political oversight as it is our money being spent and some decisions can’t be made with just evidence. For example lower the speed limit to 80kmh for $1000 or put a median wire in for $1m (made up figures).

  7. Wonderful to hear Levy say of the 45 recommendations in the report: “and we’ve adopted all of those in full without question.”

    It wasn’t long ago that we were being told that the second recommendation “Adopt and Support the Safe System with Vision Zero goal in 2018” had been watered down to “Working Towards Vision Zero”, which is utterly inadequate, and a reflection of a desire to follow a different agenda as long as possible.

    Great to see from Levy’s comment that now you’re adopting and supporting Vision Zero this year, AT. That makes a big difference. Vision Zero is pretty specific about things like speed limits and separating vulnerable users from any traffic faster than 30 km/hr.

    1. At the risk of opening up this debate again, I still think a zero road death target is stupid. Yeah I get it, no road death is acceptable; but if you set a target which is impossible to achieve, you will no doubt do less to achieve it. Its kind of like a company saying “money is good; lets set a profit target of one gazillion dollars a second”; no one in the company can make that happen, no one will be held accountable if it doesn’t happen, its counter productive. If instead the target was to double profit over 5 years or something, with bonuses related to that, it just might happen.
      I want to see the AT board set a tough but achievable advertised target over a shortish timeframe; maybe something like reduce deaths by 20% over the next 2 years and 40% over the next 5 years. Heads to roll if it isn’t met or if there is no action taken to meet it. Not only do I think this will be more likely to reduce deaths, I also think a direction like this from the top is useful when blockers stand in the way.

      1. The word from the cities that have been doing Vision Zero for a while is that zero road deaths is absolutely possible. Our starting point is so poor that we need to follow VZ principles for a decade before we can even start to comprehend the remaining changes we’d need to make.

      2. Jimbo, every time I get on a plane I am very glad that branch of the transport industry totally disagrees that setting a zero death target is stupid. Whilst aviation deaths still occur, they would be far, far more prevalent in the absence of that zero target.

          1. I wish. There have been recent instances of politicians in some countries stomping all over crash sites for a photo op and political statement. And even ‘advanced’ countries can produce reports that blame the wrong people and don’t criticise government agencies – see the Australian PelAir investigation, France and the Concorde crash.
            So while aviation is very good, it is by no means apolitical.

          2. Hmmm.

            “Tonight on Discovery. Car crash investigation. How could that high end, state-of-the-art car just go off the road and crash into a tree? Accidents don’t just happen. They’re a chain of events leading up…”

            Yeah it’s quite a difference in standards.

        1. Unfortunately I think its a different kettle of fish – you are talking about highly trained professionals who are putting their highly paid career on the line each time they fly. I am talking about barely trained amateurs, many with bad eye sight, drug and alcohol addictions, a multitude of distractions and bad attitudes, many of which drive around without a care in the world. You can (and should) drop speed limits, re-engineer roads, attempt to change attitudes through advertising, etc – but people are still going to kill themselves and others.
          Also with flying, I actually think they take it a bit too far. Many hours are wasted (and people’s money burnt) to try and maximise the highly unlikely chance of people surviving a highly unlikely crash. If we applied those standards to everything in life, we would never do anything.

          1. That is not the case with flying – they are not trying to make crashes “survivable” so much as stopping them happening altogether. And they’ve done a pretty impressive job of that. It’s been an integrated effort from airlines, aircraft manufacturers and regulatory bodies like the FAA. Every time an accident happens, it is thoroughly investigated as to why it happened and what measures can be taken to prevent it happening again. This results in industry-wide adoption of new safer practices, modifications to engines, systems and airframes and even changes to infrastructure. This occurs even if there is a near miss.
            But back to your first point, did you know that your chance of surviving a “plane crash” are actually 95%?

          2. “I am talking about barely trained amateurs, many with bad eye sight, drug and alcohol addictions, a multitude of distractions and bad attitudes, many of which drive around without a care in the world.”

            And every one of them a voter, and almost all of them think they are good drivers. It simply means that we must adopt the principles of Vision Zero which acknowledge the mistakes people make all the time, and prevent those mistakes from resulting in a serious injury, or a death.

            It’s big. They can’t make the necessary changes to our network without both reallocating road space and reallocating funding away from the road expansion projects.

          3. Are there stats on how many lives have been saved by lifejackets, brace positions, emergency exit lighting, emergency exit passenger requirements, etc? And how much money and time has been spent on those things?

          4. Heidi I agree, they do need to acknowledge the mistakes people make all the time, and prevent those mistakes from resulting in a serious injury, or a death.
            My issue still comes down to the timeframe and accountability. Realistically we aren’t going to get anywhere near 0 deaths in the next ten years, so in that time there will be little accountability to anyone in senior AT management other than looking like they are doing something and showing some kind of reduction in deaths. No one is going to lose their job or their bonus or make any hard decisions.

          5. Do you think the first recommendation for 2019 that they have committed to will help, Jimbo? I do:

            1. Safety performance expectations and delivery

            Establish a road safety improvement performance requirement (agreed % reduction over say three years) for all ELT members, senior managers (and officers with responsibilities influencing road safety outcomes) within individual Performance Development Plans and KPIs from 2019 onwards that reflects AT’s contribution to road safety and its role as lead agency for Roadsafe Auckland.

          6. They are “highly trained professionals who are putting their highly paid career on the line each time they fly” because that is the level of quality expected to maintain their ability to fly (and in their case career)

            We could set the same standards for driving and licenses. Most people in NZ still depend on driving to work, so the consequences would be similar.

          7. Tell you what we’re up against, though, dr. This was from a traffic lawyer in the “Auckland’s Appalling Road Safety Reasons Laid Out: post:

            ” “Drink driving offenders should not have recourse to the courts to seek a work-related driving license while serving a full licence suspension”. That is completely void of reasonableness and reality. Thousands of workers get limited licences every year to allow them to drive for work purposes – not to the pub on Saturday night. Without a limited licence thousands risk losing their jobs and impacting adversely on their family and others, including taxpayers picking up the pieces. Yes, the disqualified driver should have considered that possibility before driving intoxicated. However, as an experienced drink driving lawyer I can unquestionably say that most people disqualified for drink driving do not reoffend and do comply with the conditions of their limited licence. If someone is minded to disobey the scope of their limited licence, isn’t that person the type that will just drive without any form of licence at all? The controls of a limited licence are good and they work.”

            The mechanism we’re discussing here would be contested by people like this lawyer, who thinks the safety report was the “tip of a propaganda plan to push more intrusive state controls on citizens, such as point to point speed cameras and other technologies mentioned in the Report”.

            Good thing is he’ll lose this one eventually – all around the world, it’s been shown that the public resist change while it’s being discussed but love safety improvements once they start, even to the point of demanding them for their communities too.

  8. We have had decades of continuous safety improvements in our motor vehicle fleet. We have also spent, (or misspent), bucketloads “making roads safer” So our continueing increase of road deaths, above the rate of: comparable countries, population growth, and vehicle distance travelled, is a stark indication that what we are currently doing is seriously deficient, negligent in fact. It is very simply a national disgrace, and every death, is a local tragedy.
    Major resets of policy direction, implimentation, and enforcement are required at all levels. Starting at the very top. The Government needs to be much much more assertive. The current procedures for setting appropriate speed limits are so cumbersome and fraught that no wonder councils shy away from changes.
    Local authorities too have a major role, so it is great to see AT belatedly accepting a greater role in prioritising safety for all road users, perhaps at the expense of some SOV passage priority. To be effective though they also need the Government to step up.

  9. Yes Don, Central Government can do way more.

    I wrote to the Associate Minister of Transport earlier this year because I beleive that one of her particular responsibilities is road safety. I asked her whether the Government intended to do anything more about drivers impaired by their use of cell phones while driving. (My letter was ocassioned by first my wife and then my work colleague being rear ended by drivers apparently impaired by using their cell phones at the time. Having said that, I have no knowledge of whether they were impaired because they may drive like shit all the time, and if that is the case I apologise for suggesting they may be impaired.)

    “The Government is extremely concerned at the number of deaths on New Zealand’s roads and since becoming Minister I have heard from a lot of people who share the same view. Last year more people died on our roads than any year since 2010, this is something that the Government feels is unacceptable. I share your concerns about activities that distract drivers, including the use of mobile phones while driving.

    It’s true the $80 infringement fee for driving while using a mobile phone is low by international standards, and we will be considering changes to this. The infringement also imposes 20 demerit points. When setting the penalty, the previous Government decided that demerit points offered a greater deterrent than an increased financial penalty. Demerit points can be serious for a motorist, as their driver licence is suspended for three months when 100 or more demerit points are incurred within a two-year period.

    If a driver’s performance is impaired by mobile phones use, or they cause a crash while using a mobile phones, the Police have other more serious charges they can apply (for example, careless use of a vehicle). This is a court-based offence for which the penalty is a maximum fine of $3,000 and the court may impose a driving disqualification as it sees fit. If the driving causes injury or death to other road users, the Police may charge the driver with more serious offences that incur higher penalties. It is up to the Police to determine the charge according to the circumstances of each case.

    The Government currently runs advertising campaigns that aim to raise driver awareness of road safety issues and encourage responsible driver behaviour. The campaigns do have a particular emphasis on the use of handheld mobile phones while driving.

    It is a priority for me that the Government is taking all actions it can to improve road safety. I have announced some further investment in safety improvements and will be continuing to work with councils in the coming months on other actions that will make our roads safer. I have directed the Ministry of Transport to develop a new road safety strategy. It will investigate all reasonable actions to lower our crash rate.”

    I will leave it to you to determine whether any of this means that the Government will do something.

  10. AT’s systems seem to be rubbish. I recently had a “discussion” with them about some yellow lines which run from my driveway to my neighbour’s driveway and stop people parking on the small amount of kerb between us. I asked for the lines to be repainted as they have got quite faded and more vehicles were being parked there. A couple of weeks later – at 10.45pm on a Sunday night, a contractor with the appropriate machine arrived and repainted the lines. A couple of days later someone parked on them and I rang AT and reported them. A Parking Warden came and looked – had a long discussion on his phone and drove away. I emailed AT and asked why the car was not towed. I got the most amazing reply – the AT person told me that they could not tow because the lines were not authorised, were not in the right place, and were not installed by an authorised AT contractor. After I sent in a few photos, and expressed my amazement that some random person with the right equipment would just turn up and repaint the lines coincidentally with my request for the work, and in exactly the same place as they had been for almost 20 years – AT completely reversed its position. Either their system was so crap that the poor person in the office could not even look up the record of contractors, or they are allowed to punt rubbish off the top of their heads and hope people will just go away.

    1. Lindsey
      Here’s my favourite. Someone formed a view that the roadway leading to Akoranga Station was not a road and so therefore it was legal to park there. Quickly the “road” was blocked by dozens of vehicles parked anywhere and everywhere. Cars passing to the station would sometimes scrape the side of other cars and often it was impenetrable for AT buses.

      Never mind because after items in the paper and on the net AT was onto it. Barely 8 months after the issue had started to evolve AT was ready to erect no parking signs in the area. Unfortunately due to the time pressure to get things done, and we know that sometimes decisions made under pressure are not the correct ones, the new signs that were installed were not legal and AT had to have another go.

      AT don’t just have to lift their game, they actually have to get in the game.

  11. The fundamental problem is AT is a bureaucratic organisation with weak accountability to the public.

    There is no benchmark to compare how efficient AT operates.

    There is no competition as there is only one agency

    The CEO still gets the salary as soon as he can get away with doing the minimum required. Doing more means more issues and risk getting fired.

    The staffs are same – doing more risk getting fired.

  12. Super interesting to read this being new to Auckland. Coming from Sydney Auckland feels like a bit of a dream. While the public transport is terrible, your roads are easy to navigate, fines of all descriptions and parking are both ridiculously cheap. I just hope your government gets infrastructure right and positions Auckland for the growth that’s coming.

    1. We’d love to have your input from time to time. Aucklanders generally don’t have a clue about what other cities like Sydney are charging for parking and fining. Even those who like to criticise welfare are happy to be beneficiaries of much public money when they park.

  13. I’m not sure if this is AT’S fault or not, but what is going on regarding keeping Auckland’s train corridors
    clear of tagging and “artwork’ being done by the braindead sector of our population ?

    In the last few months all the corridors have been trashed and the amount of defacing has rapidly increased.

    The good gray paint people who used to clean this up, almost as soon as it appeared, seem to have been
    taken off the job.

    Anyone know whats going on ? I suspect someone is trying to save money, as usual.

    1. Yes it definitely seems as though whoever used to clean off the graffiti isn’t doing it anymore. Which always quickly leads to massively more graffiti.

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